TOKYO (Reuters) – Some of Japan’s biggest department store owners on Wednesday reported an unprecedented slump in March sales as the coronavirus outbreak hit tourism and forced stores to shorten their operating hours.
Retail group J.Front Retailing Co Ltd (T:3086) said it suffered its worst year-on-year decline on record, as sales at its Daimaru Matsuzakaya department store chain fell 43% in March from a year earlier.
Takashimaya Co Ltd (T:8233) reported a 36% fall. The year-on-year fall was particularly steep at its stores in Shinjuku and Osaka, it said.
Nationwide data for March has not yet been compiled, but the year-on-year declines at the major stores last month were far bigger than the 15 percent fall recorded in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, according to the Japan Department Stores Association.
Visitors to Japan have declined since China banned overseas group tours in January, and dwindled further as the virus outbreak spread in Japan and other countries, bringing international travel to a halt.
Major Japan department stores book worst-ever sales slump in March
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